CORONAVIRUS/Over 2.84 million people registered to get COVID-19 vaccine
Taipei, July 12 (CNA) More than 2.84 million people in Taiwan had expressed their desire to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday's 5 p.m. deadline, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
As Taiwan's supply of vaccines has increased after an extremely slow initial rollout, the government has been expanding eligibility and giving people the chance to register for a COVID-19 vaccine through a new online appointment system.
The new system was launched on July 8, and people aged 50 and older as well as those over the age of 18 who are at high risk of COVID-19 because of serious illnesses or rare diseases were able to register by Monday's deadline.
As of the 5 p.m. deadline, 1,711,681 people, or 60.8 percent of those who registered, indicated they wanted to get the Moderna vaccine, while 37.01 percent, or 1,054,223, said they could accept either the AstraZeneca (AZ) or Moderna vaccine.
Only 2.91 percent, or 82,874 people, said they wanted to get an AZ shot.
For people to be able to pick a time to actually get a vaccine shot, they will have to receive a text message between July 13 and July 15 saying they can make an appointment.
The text messages will be sent based on vaccine availability, and those who voiced a preference for the Moderna vaccine could be disappointed.
The CECC's new vaccine rollout policy is that only one brand of vaccine doses is to be administered each week, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told CNA.
AZ brand vaccines will be the first to be made available starting July 16, and only that brand of jabs will be given over the next three weeks, Chuang said.
Considering, however, that some people in higher priority groups previously made appointments to get the Moderna vaccine on July 16, both the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines will be distributed on that day, he said.
Taiwan has taken delivery of a total of 3.72 million AZ vaccine doses and as of Sunday, nearly 2 million people in Taiwan had received at least one AZ vaccine dose.
The remaining doses, most of which only arrived in Taiwan last week, are still being tested and inspected and could be administered in the next three weeks, Chuang said.
Taiwan has also taken delivery of 3.3 million Moderna vaccine doses. As of Sunday, over 1.56 million doses had been administered, while 1.18 million of the 1.73 million doses left had been distributed to local governments.
Given that an average of 200,000 doses are now being given each day, all the remaining doses could be used up this week, according to Chuang.
Another round of Moderna vaccine distribution is expected to start in early August after Taiwan receives another shipment of the vaccine, according to Chuang.
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